The 2 hour first episode of the new season of The Amazing Race was both the best and the worst that can I remember.
I did not like the elimination challenge right at the start, before they'd even left the Los Angeles River basin. The challenge to find a license plate that matched the clue seemed easy enough. But it seemed so cruel to kick someone off the show just as it barely began.
You go through so many steps to get picked to be on The Amazing Race. It'd be so exciting to get on the show and be ready to race and then a few minutes later find yourself heading home would be so not good.
But, having said that, of all the pairs, I'm glad it was Eric and Lisa who got the early boot. Eric acted way too sure of himself in the intro, a sure sign of coming trouble. I just did not expect Eric's doom to come so soon.
Now, the rest of the opening episode I liked. The first leg, in Tokyo, was among the best I remember. An out of control Japanese game show Roadblock where Wasabi Bombs spun on a Roulette Wheel. Then teams herded 20 Japanese tourists through crowded streets to the Pit Stop.
The Amazing Race always finds some interesting pairings. This time, so far, the most interesting seem to be Zev & Justin, one of whom has Asperger's Syndrome. Maria & Tiffany, both of whom are professional poker players, but, at first, til caught, lied to the other teams about being saints helping homeless people. Sam & Dan, gay brothers. That's a reality show first. Brian & Ericka, the first interracial team on the race, with Ericka being the 2004 Miss America. And then there is Marcy & Ron, an older couple, with Marcy having a very young spirt. I almost forgot Mika & Canaan. They are a good-looking pair, with Canaan, 26, telling us that he is keeping his purity until he's a married man. Very noble. And a bit disturbing.
Leaving Tokyo, from a non-elimination round where the poker players came in last, partly due to losing some of their tourists on the way to the Pit Stop, incurring a 2 hour penalty and a Speed Bump, all the teams were heading to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Upon arrival in Vietnam the teams had to find a bus station to get a 2 hour bus ride to a village called Cai Be, then race on foot to the Ben Tau Du Lich boat docks, where they had to take sampans out into the Mekong Delta to gather mud to fertilize trees. It did not look pleasant.
Meanwhile, the now outted poker players, Maria & Tiffany got past their Speed Bump of making a bowl of Pho, then headed out on a sampan to get mud.
The final task before the Pit Stop was a Roadblock involving herding 150 ducks into a pen. Some had no trouble with this. Others could not control their ducks. Tiffany moved herself & Maria ahead of other teams by getting her ducks herded quickly.
The Pit Stop was found by racing on foot to Cho Cai Be market on the Mekong River and finding the dock for the Bassac III, the Riverboat Pit Stop. The gay bros, Sam & Dan, left the ducks in 1st place, but they quickly lost their lead when they started bickering while trying to find the market.
In the end, the father/son team from Montana, Gary & Matt, made it to the mat first. The Harlem Globetrotters, Flight Time & Big Easy ( I forgot to mention them as one of the funny/interesting teams ) came in 2nd. Sam & Dan stopped bickering long enough to come in 3rd. Maria & Tiffany managed to come in #7.
Soon it was down to Miss America & Brian and Garret & Jessica. Jessica had more trouble with her ducks, so Ericka & Brian made it to the mat in 10th place, with Phil telling Garret & Jessica that he was sorry, but they'd been eliminated from the race.
I don't know where the racers go next. Vietnam is being very interesting. The racers arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to everything being horribly flooded. I don't remember seeing such a thing on The Amazing Race before.
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